Students from Heritage University started conducting door-to-door surveys in the Lower Yakima Valley this week to get residents' opinions on drinking water and its safety. The students will conduct up to 160 surveys at homes served by private wells. The goal of the surveys is to find out what residents know about nitrates and if residents are aware of the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area Advisory Committee. Surveys will be targeted to areas known to have high nitrate levels in groundwater and areas where little data on nitrate levels exist. These areas include homes near Sunnyside, Grandview and Mabton. A map of the survey areas can be seen at http://www.yakimacounty.us/gwma/education_public_outreach.php. The 19-question opinion survey is being conducted on behalf of the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area Advisory Committee, a multi-agency and citizen-based group coordinating the effort to reduce nitrate contamination in Lower Yakima Valley groundwater. The survey is intended to both educate citizens while gaining data. Results of the survey will help determine where a more in-depth study of private wells in the Lower Valley needs to occur. A follow-up survey is scheduled to take place later this year.